Health authorities have enhanced the capacity and services of COVID-19 nucleic acid testing to facilitate travelers heading home for the approaching Spring Festival - a traditional time for family reunions.
Till Feb 1, testing organizations nationwide can process 16 million single samples collected per day, about 12.7 times the amount in March 2020. At that time, the daily capacity was 1.26 million, Guo Yanhong, an official from the National Health Commission, said at a news conference on Thursday.
"Services for COVID-19 testing have also been improved," she said. "Local governments are required to release information of testing organizations' names, working hours and locations to the public, facilitating their reservations for the tests."
The testing fee, she said, is also reduced in many areas.
To improve the services, testing organizations and hospitals are encouraged to set up testing booths, and waive the registration fees for test takers. "We also encourage them to use information technology for testing payment and results," she said.
As part of the efforts to curb the COVID-19 epidemic risk, people who travel to their hometowns in rural areas for Spring Festival are required to provide their nucleic acid test result, and undergo further testing while at their hometowns. So the country is facing a rising demand for virus testing.
Guo said some rural areas have disadvantages in testing for the virus due to the lack of medical resources. "Now, some town-level clinics can take samples and send these samples to county-level organizations for testing," she said.
"We hope that more testing labs and mobile testing facilities can be set up in the countryside to facilitate returnees during the Spring Festival holiday," she said.